The cleric said that Nigerians need a moral transformation.
The Catholic Bishop of Abuja Diocese, John Onaiyekan, on Thursday urged Nigerians to embrace self-transformation as a panacea to check the menace of corruption in the country.
The leader of the Catholic Church in Nigeria, who was speaking in Abuja during a visit to the Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Ekpo Nta, in his office said that self-transformation remained the only antidote for moral decadence in the country.
Mr. Onaiyekan, who commended the leadership of the Commission for its ongoing efforts aimed at instilling discipline and transparency at all levels of governance in the country, said if every Nigerian were to begin to transform their individual attitudes, the battle to reinvent Nigeria would have been won long ago.
Drawing a nexus between corruption and insecurity, the Catholic cleric pointed out that the insecurity currently bedeviling Nigeria was due to corruption, which he said could only be reversed and peace restored if Nigerians embraced the virtues of self-transformation.
“The talk about Boko Haram gave me the opportunity to link insecurity problem in the country with the ugly issue of corruption. We cannot expect to have a secure and peaceful nation without good behaviour, honesty and integrity, especially in high places, which are completely neglected. We can have a lot of soldiers and mobile police to keep as many people quiet as you can, but as we can see, it will reach a stage where we cannot prevent it to explode. Unfortunately, when it explodes, there will be no logic or smartness, but to end up in chaotic situation,” he said.
He added that the nation cannot be transformed if the people themselves do not go through a moral transformation. He charged leaders at all levels in the country to live by example, pointing out that integrity is gradually missing amongst the virtues our leaders are expected to exhibit at all times.
In his response, the ICPC Chairman solicited the support of all patriotic Nigerians, including religious leaders in its ongoing war against all forms of corruption in the country, noting the crucial role religious leaders have to play in order to bring out the best of human values in their followers, and by implication, transformation of the society.
“Nigerians, and indeed world citizens, want shining stars that can lead them through the dark nights of ignorance to freedom,” Mr. Nta said. “ICPC seeks continued partnership with our eminent religious leadership in the fight against disruptive corruption, because of its disastrous effects on the well-being of our citizens. Today, more than ever, the society needs the Church and we expect that the Church will as usual live up to its role.”
The anti-graft crusader described Mr. Onaiyekan as a shining example of godly virtues and a Man of the People, “who can sit and advise the President of Nigeria today in the Villa and the next day is at home in a small orphanage inspiring an orphan to achieve greatness and self-worth”.